1713–1784; August 28

By Catholic News Service     8/29/2016

A Spanish missionary who is buried in California, Miguel Jose Serra was born on the Mediterranean island of Majorca. He entered the Franciscans in 1730, taking the name Junipero to honor an original companion of St. Francis of Assisi. He taught after being ordained, but in 1749 volunteered for mission work among the Indians of Mexico and Texas. In 1767, the Franciscans under Father Serra took charge of the missions in Baja California, and in 1769 he accompanied a military expedition into Alta (upper) California, where he founded nine of the 21 missions stretching from San Diego to Sonoma. Beatified in 1988, he is the inspiration for Serra International, which encourages and affirms vocations.